Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:27 pm
New Indianapolis Colts' general manager Ryan Grigson flatly denied a report that his team had advised likely No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck not to throw passes at the Scouting Combine this week.
Grigson, speaking to the media at the Combine Thursday, was twice asked about a tweet from Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star that claimed Luck was willing to throw Sunday but was talked out of it by the Colts.
"I never said anything," Grigson said. "Players are allowed to make their own decisions what they're going to do at the Combine. I've had no bearing on that, believe me."
At least one member of the media may not have believed Grigson. Seconds after answering the first question about whether he'd individually asked Luck not to throw, a follow-up question came asking if any member of the Colts had pushed the Stanford passer's decision.
"No. Absolutely not," Grigson replied.
The reality is, Luck's decision to throw or not throw at the Combine this week is unlikely to have any bearing whatsoever on his draft status. The redshirt junior has three years worth of tape proving his talents. He's been the top-rated prospect in the country by NFLDraftScout.com for nearly two years. My CBS colleague Mike Freeman noted that scouts were absolutely "kissy, kissy" about Luck. Frankly, if the Colts stun the world by taking anyone other than Luck with the first pick of the draft, the list of suitors calling the St. Louis Rams to move up to No. 2 overall would likely be a long one.
Any perceived slight or miscommunication between the Colts and Luck could be significant, however, especially considering the precarious situation Indianapolis already has with their current quarterback, Peyton Manning. Speaking of Manning, Grigson offered little news on the star's progress and asked the media to understand that he and the Colts have little choice but to wait for Manning to improve medically.
"...Peyton has to be healthy," Grigson explained. "It has to be something that’s spoken on and investigated and talked about. Right now, it’s a process. We’re waiting for things to happen. Right now, we’re doing the things we have control of. Things we don’t have control of, we just have no choice but to be patient. We ask all of you to be the same."
Regardless of the Colts' decision with Manning, expect the team to be well represented at Luck's Pro Day March 22.
Posted on: January 8, 2012 1:45 pm
Edited on: January 8, 2012 1:45 pm
Colts owner Jim Irsay denied a report that the team has discussed moving a $28 million option bonus owed quarterback Peyton Manning on March 8. The bonus would trigger the final four years of Manning's contract and prevent him from becoming a free agent.
Posted on: January 1, 2012 6:34 pm
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III described his Heisman moment as "unbelievably believable."
That moment was extended Sunday with multiple reports that RG3 is foregoing his senior season and entering the 2012 NFL draft.
Rated behind Stanford's Andrew Luck by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 2 quarterback in the 2012 draft and No. 3 overall player, Griffin completed 72.3% of his passes as a junior for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns against only six interceptions. Griffin, who qualified for the Olympic trials in high school, is just as dangerous on the ground, rushing for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2011.
Griffin led Baylor to a 10-3 record, their first victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in team history and first bowl win since 1992.
While at 6-2, 220 pounds he does not possess the size and experience in a pro-style offense that Luck boasts, Griffin's electric combination of mobility and accuracy does give him a rarer skill-set and more upside than the Stanford star.
It makes for a fascinating decision for the Indianapolis Colts, who by virtue of their loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, clinched the first pick of the draft.
The Colts can hope for the success recovery of future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, but don't expect team president Bill Polian to waste his chance at securing a franchise quarterback of the future simply out of respect for their current star.
A significant portion of Luck's appeal to NFL teams is his pro-readiness. Should the Colts determine that they cannot rely on Manning returning to his previous All-Pro form, Polian is expected to make the traditional choice with Luck.
If the Colts feel secure that Manning can return in 2012, drafting Griffin and allowing him a season or two to acclimate from Baylor's relatively simple spread offense to the Colts' complicated attack is another strategy that will be heavily debated inside the Colts' headquarters.
If Griffin isn't able to leap Luck, he won't have to wait long before his "unbelievably believable" moment continues.
With Southern Cal quarterback Matt Barkley already announcing that he's returning for his senior season, Griffin may have gained enough value that the St. Louis Rams with the No. 2 pick and Minnesota Vikings, picking third, may be prepared to auction off their pick to the highest bidder, as well.
The Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins are other potential landing spots for Griffin inside the top ten.
Posted on: January 1, 2012 3:51 pm
The fascinating drama some guy predicted back in September might occur, will indeed.
The Indianapolis Colts, in losing 19-14 Sunday to the Jacksonville Jaguars, have secured the rights to the No. 1 pick of the 2012 draft.
If the Colts aren't absolutely convinced that Peyton Manning will return to All-Pro form next year, they'll be hard pressed to pass up the opportunity to draft the franchise quarterback to lead them into a new era.
Many, including NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler and myself, have predicted that the Colts will ultimately select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Those who think the Colts might do something other than take Luck, generally argue Polian could take another passer, Baylor's Heisman-Tropy winner Robert Griffin III.
All of which sets up for a fascinating decision for the Colts. With no clear top defensive prospects to realistically consider over Luck and Griffin, they'll either have to take a quarterback, trade the pick or trade Manning.
The 2011 NFL regular season boasted plenty of drama.
The 2012 pre-draft season is starting off just as intriguing.
Posted on: December 19, 2011 8:45 am
In a five paragraph statement made to the press shortly following Indianapolis' first win of the season, Colts' vice chairman Bill Polian announced that four-time league MVP Peyton Manning has begun throwing passes to teammates but that there is "no chance" that he will play this season.
"It was determined by the doctors that there was no chance he (Manning) would play this year," Polian said, alluding to a meeting that took place on Thursday. "His rehabilitation has not come far enough to make it prudent for him to step on the field in game action. He may practice in some very scripted and circumscribed circumstances if he wishes. That's entirely up to him."
Perhaps it is just me, but the last sentence in the quote above I found to be particularly interesting.
"That's entirely up to him" is the kind of thing one parent might say to another about a child about to make a foolhardy decision. It reeks of washing one's hands of a decision so that if something bad were to happen fault couldn't be spread.
It sounds like the words of a man who has already made up his mind with what he's doing with the first pick of the draft.
Having spoken with scouts specifically about the Colts and their 35-year old quarterback, the writing has been on the way for months. The Colts recognize the unique talent expected to be available and do not appear likely to be willing to mortgage their future at the game's most important position just to acknowledge what Manning has done for them in the past.
The real question could turn out to be which quarterback the Colts would prefer.
The overwhelming consensus, of course, is that the Colts would take Andrew Luck. As I noted here, however, there is growing sentiment that the higher upside of Robert Griffin III could convince some teams that he's the player who should be taken first.
If running a team needing a quarterback to step in and play immediately, it would seem Luck would be the slam dunk choice. Southern Cal's Matt Barkley, should he also decide to leave school early, is also especially ready for the leap to the NFL due to his experience in a pro-style offense.
If the Colts see enough in Manning's post practice workouts to convince them that he is on schedule to return to his MVP-caliber play, Griffin might sneak up on Luck. He, after all, is expected to need some time to acclimate to the NFL after having earned his Heisman trophy in a spread offense.
But, of course, Polian isn't tipping his hand on which college quarterback he likes best.
That won't come until a press conference scheduled four months from now.
Posted on: November 23, 2011 10:55 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:52 pm
It'll be a happy Thanksgiving for a few general managers likely to be perched at the top of next year's NFL draft.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck plans to enter the 2012 NFL Draft according to a Yahoo Sports report, which cites two sources in saying Luck won't be back for a fourth and final college season.
The redshirt junior, considered the No. 1 overall prospect since the start of the 2010 season, surprised most when he decided after the Cardinal won the Orange Bowl to return for his redshirt junior season in 2011 to finalize his degree in architectural engineering. The Charlotte Observer reported in January that Luck, not Cam Newton of Auburn, was the Panthers' top-ranked prospect. When Luck returned, Newton was the No. 1 overall pick and has put up gaudy statistics starting since Week 1.
Luck has started since his freshman season and given head coach Jim Harbaugh, who recruited him to Palo Alto, moved on to the 49ers, some saw Luck as a sure bet to follow him to the pros.
Harbaugh said Luck is the anti-franchise quarterback in that he doesn't follow any "social expectations in his life." As one example, Harbaugh said some of Luck's closest ties outside of the Stanford locker room were with intellectual professors.
On the field, Luck has been portrayed as the total package at a position considered the most important to winning in the NFL. He's expected to be a Heisman Trophy finalist and will leave Stanford with a number of passing records and marks for wins, including many that previously belonged to Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway.
NFLDraftScout.com projects Luck as one of three or possibly four quarterbacks who will be first-round picks in 2012, assuming multiple juniors, including Luck and Southern California's Matt Barkley, opt to leave school early.
He's been scouted heavily by the Indianapolis Colts, who at 0-10 are the most likely team to hold the No. 1 overall pick. All other NFL teams have at least two victories.
The Colts' situation could be interesting from many angles. Luck received direct counsel from injured All-Pro Peyton Manning, who played all four years of his eligibility at Tennessee, when weighing his draft-vs.-Stanford decision in January. Manning wants to return to the Colts next season. But he's had three neck surgeries and his health status is very much unknown.
Indianapolis, which signed Manning to a five-year, $90 million contract in July, can release Manning in March and avoid the final four years of his contract. That would clear the path for luck, a player management and owner Jim Irsay said has to be considered if indeed Indianapolis drafts at the top spot in April.
Vice chairman Bill Polian, who built his previous teams around quarterbacks -- Jim Kelly in Buffalo, Kerry Collins in Carolina and Manning with the Colts -- has scouted Luck on multiple occasions in person. Polian and Manning said they've discussed the scenario, but have not shared what factors will dictate the direction the team takes in March and April.
Posted on: September 7, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 3:53 pm
Yesterday former Colts head coach Tony Dungy made waves with the proclamation that his former team might miss the playoffs if they don't get quarterback Peyton Manning back this season.
In response to Dungy's prediction I'll go back even further in Colts history to another former head coach -- Jim Mora -- whose famous "Playoffs!? I just hope we can win a game" rant may once again be applicable.
Clearly, the Colts are a talented team. Dwight Freeney, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark -- we're talking about three consistent Pro Bowl caliber players right off the bat, but let's be clear, Wayne and Clark are significantly more successful players based on the relationship they've forged with Manning. Freeney might be the league's best pass rusher, but with teams not needing 40+ points to keep up with the Manning-led offense, opponents can (and likely will) run the ball down his throat.
Putting it more bluntly, without Manning, the Colts are the worst team in the AFC South division.
Again, to be fair, no football team is based on just one player. Furthermore, I do believe in the talent and experience of Kerry Collins is enough to see the Colts winning a few games. But you take a look at their schedule and tell me that they're going to win enough games to be competing for the playoffs for long should Manning not make it back onto the field soon.
All of this potentially shapes up for an interesting dilemma for Bill Polian and the Colts. Should Manning not recover in time to keep Indianapolis within a realistic shot of the playoffs, what would the incentive be to hurry the futue Hall of Famer back? Especially given the extreme value a high first round pick could have in 2012, when several highly touted young quarterbacks like Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, Landry Jones and Ryan Tannehill (among others) could be available.
The Colts have already admitted that they have no idea when Peyton Manning will be ready to return to the field. One could extend that thinking further to: The Colts have no idea IF Peyton Manning will be ready to return to the field. Manning, after all, is 35 and nerve damage injuries are impossible to predict.
Should Manning return early in the season (and I'd like to think that all of us -- perhaps other than rival defensive coordinators -- are indeed hoping this is the case), Indianapolis could find themselves in playoff contention and picking in the 20s as they have throughout virtually all of Manning's career.
Should he not return this season, however, the Colts could be in position to pick (or trade the rights to pick) one of the top young quarterbacks coming down the pike.
Playoffs?! Are you kidding, me?! Playoffs?!
Posted on: December 9, 2010 5:42 pm
The 2010 NFL season has been a strong one overall for rookies. This isn't a surprise considering the amount of hype that the group enjoyed prior to the draft.
Two players who didn't gain a great deal of attention, however, were among the rookies who most stood out this past weekend.
Undrafted free agent Chris Ivory enjoyed another strong performance for the Saints, overtaking No. 2 overall pick Ndamukong Suh to be recognized for the third time this year. He rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the Saints' 34-30 win at Cincinnati. The highlight of Ivory's afternoon was a career-long 55 yard run in the second quarter that was the first touchdown scored by either team.
Other offensive players whose play stood out this week included Seattle offensive tackle Russell Okung, Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Williams, and fellow Buc LaGarrette Blount (running back).
While the Cowboys' Sean Lee , as a second round pick, certainly entered the league with a much higher profile than Ivory, the success of the Cowboys' flashy first rounder Dez Bryant and Lee's long recovery from a 2008 ACL surgery made him one of the "quieter" high profile selections in Dallas history. The former Penn State star has flashed during his rookie season but remains a backup behind veterans Keith Brooking and Bradie James for the Cowboys.
Lee's play against the Colts spoke volumes, however. Lee victimized Peyton Manning for two of the All-Pro's four interceptions in this game, returning the first 31 yards to score his first NFL touchdown. Lee's second came in overtime, putting the Cowboys in position to kick the winning field goal. He also tied his previous career-high with five tackles on the day.
Among the other defenders whose play stood out this weekend was the Giants' pass rusher (and reigning Defensive Rookie of the Week) Jason Pierre-Paul, Cincinnati's Carlos Dunlap, New England inside linebacker Brandon Spikes and a trio of cornerbacks - Cleveland's Joe Haden, Kansas City's Javier Arenas, and the Patriots' Devin McCourty.
Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Bradie James, Brandon Spikes, Carlos Dunlap, Chris Ivory, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Devin McCourty, Dez Bryant, Indianapolis Colts, Jason Pierre-Paul, Javier Arenas, Joe Haden, Keith Brooking, LaGarrette Blount, Mike Williams, Ndamukong Suh, New Orleans Saints, Penn State, Peyton Manning, Russell Okung, Sean Lee